The Escapist Avatar Adventure: An Open RP (Now Re-Opened!)

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Cloudtop Citadel - The Rising Dawn
Security Private Peter Moore

The hallways were smothered in the dim red glow of emergency lights. Peter moved swiftly with the rest of his squad. The cacophony of footfalls were like rain. He held his rifle close to him, ran his fingers over the safety, tugged on the strap and held his breath. Two more floors. He thought.

It was nearly two AM, and he had been roused from his quarters by an urgent warning. While he was technically off duty, his nature in security meant that he had to be on-call for emergencies. This was one of those times. The squad fell in on the target floor. Jacob, Trevor and Steven on his right, Lieutenant Morrison, Gwenneth, and Aaron on his left. Morrison held up two fingers and motioned them forward.

They broke the corner and surrounded the intruder. Their rifles trained intently on the bandaged man. His entire body reeked of radiation, his being was foreign, and without Colonel BlackHarte they were blind to whether he was a good man or a villain.

Lieutenant Morrison took stance in front of the Burned Man, "We are the Rising Dawn," he barked with the practiced force of a military officer, "State your name, origin, and purpose. "

The Rising Dawn
Canteen

Morning?


Mio

Something groaned from under the bar, then a heavy thud could be heard. "Ouch!" came a voice from the ground. "Who the fuck put a table in my way?" Slowly, the one-armed pirate stood, holding her head. "Now I have two headaches at once!"
Mio looked around. Apparently the bar had seen its fair share of events since she had passed out from several drinks in quick succession. "Where am I again?" she said, trying to discern who to adress, but not really finding anyone suited to answer her questions. She looked out the window, seeing only the blurry lights of the machine complex in the cloudtop citadel.

Oh great, am I in prison again? Mio asked herself, dusted herself off and counted her belongings, quickly realizing that she would not still have a fancy sword if this was the case. "Hmm ..." she thought aloud for a second, before heading out the canteen. Time for adventure!

It was pretty dark in the corridors of the Rising Dawn, as the ship seemed to be shut down right now. For Mio, this was no problem, her other senses giving her good orientational awareness. Or at least they would give her this, if she had any idea which way she was actually going. At least she was meeting some staff walking in different direction, so she could ask...

"Hey, beautiful!" she called out to the first staff member she met, a rather grumpy and not that attractive female soldier. "Could you tell me where the exit is?" The woman was about to just ignore Mio, as she heard the question, thinking answering something so simple could not hurt. "You have to pass through corridors, the third one left will lead to the command bridge and subsequently one of the exits." she answered.

"The command bridge? Thank you!" Mio called out, despite standing in front of the woman. "If you need me, I will be somewhere around that area!" she winked, then blew a kiss to the woman, who slowly took a step back, then scratched her head and vanished, being confused by another woman advancing on her, a random soldier, this openly.

Mio, on the only hand, took the path the soldier had described to her, finding out that the layout of the ship was not as complicated as she first had thought. The command bridge was mostly empty, no captain in sight, so Mio walked around a bit, touching most things and buttons she saw, not knowing what any of them did. As the power was cut, and safety was on, there was, luckily for the others, no way to cause any harm yet. "Simple enough." she said to another soldier who was standing around. "This should be up and running in no time."

Without waiting for an answer, she found the exit and stepped out of the Rising Dawn into the massive complex of Cloudtop Citadel. Her eye took a moment before adjusting to the lighting, then she more or less could observe the huge operation going on around her ...

"I'm in heaven!" Mio called out. She took some quick steps to one of the many attractive female mechanics standing around. "Tell me, am I dead? Is this heaven?" she asked, quickly switching her glare from her eyes to her buttoned down mechanics suit. "Not quite." the mechanic answered, giving her a wink. "This is Cloudtop Citadel, and we are currently repairing the Rising Dawn. You are welcome to have a look around."

"Rising Dawn ... that rings a bell." Mio thought aloud, looking back to the huge plane she had walked out of. "Ah yes, I was rescued and brought on this ship. How embarrassing for a captain." she blushed slightly, causing the mechanic to giggle. "You are a captain? Where do you come from? Where is your ship?"

"These are all very good questions. Maybe someone as competent as you could help me find out?" Mio said, smiling in a particular way. "Or get someone who could help me in even more ways?"
"You are an odd person." the mechanic stated bluntly. "But interesting enough. So ... sure, I can try to help. Or find someone ..." She took a step towards Mio. "Are you from this world? Maybe this is the first thing we should find out."

Taking her hand, the mechanic led Mio towards the research facility.


The Rising Dawn
Med Bay

Morning


Diana | Jenny

Jenny found that while her hypnosis was strong enough to eventually break through the psychic shield in this nightmare's mind, it would take some time, time she also needed to hold up the reflect barrier. More spikes were piercing this barrier, while the monster engulfed it, denying vision to the outside. With a sound like the scraping of chalk it grinded against the barrier, filling Jenny's mind with the feeling of dread, not only from the sound, but also from psychic suggestions, counter-attacking the hypnotic suggestions.

This is fun. the nightmare spoke. You should be able to help your lover, if you manage to free yourself.

AA Verse | Cloudtop Citadel | The Rising Dawn
Joshua Graham

He was half tempted to draw his firearm as soon as the first individual rounded the corner. Something was off however, and it wasn't the group of armed guards that came next, or perhaps it was. The way they carried themselves, the weapons they had, and the structure of the halls they were in... It all screamed of a highly trained military presence. Graham didn't recognize the armor they were wearing or really anything about them. They were too clean for the wasteland and their weapons too shiny and new. Something was off about the whole situation.

He needed to choose his next words carefully. He slowly raised his hands behind his head. Most people in the wasteland would have shot him on sight and the questions they asked were different to say the least. He was just as foreign to them as they were to him. Questions for later however. "Graham, Joshua Graham," the bandaged man replied as he sized them up. He had a few tricks if he absolutely had to fight his way out but harming his fellow man generally went against his beliefs. The other two questions confused him a bit however.

Were they asking where he was born? He also didn't have a particular purpose as he accidentally came here but the Burned Man thought it best to give a swift response. "New Zion and I don't have a specific purpose for coming here." That was all the questions answered for now. He had a few questions of his own but the Lord rewarded the patient and the guns trained at him discouraged the thought.

If conflict was truly unavoidable, he would aim for the one who spoke first. He was the obvious leader and the one he'd need to take down first to demoralize the rest though Joshua hoped it wouldn't come to that.

[[Secondary Scenario]]


Maiden's Wish
side story

"Never ask for anything, but desire everything."

The Gem of Want pulsed with blue light, casting dancing shadows over it's holding chamber. Ever since the arrival of the Rising Dawn and it's crew, the artifact had become more active. In the past four years the black gem had not cast light more than once a week, but now it was positively flickering. Yona scowled, she was unsure on how the sudden burst of activity would affect the preliminary tests of the Inquiry's engines. She touched the glass and watched the blue light wash over her hand. Within the darkness of the gem, she saw the limestone walls of her home. Arched and inspiring, stretching from horizon to horizon as smoke trailed from suburbs built into it's side.

There was a chirp from her bag. She reached in and pulled open her phone, "Colonel Isami. Go ahead."

"Lieutenant Mitte here!" came the response, "I have someone who I think you should see! She's really weird! You might want to meet her!"

The second one of the day. How troublesome. It was as if High Command had known that the Desire Drive was slated to go into practical testing today and decided to inconvenience her as much as possible. Her phone chirped again.

"Colonel?" came Mitte's cheerful voice.

"Sorry, please bring her to my office. I'll meet with her there." Yona closed out of the call before Mitte's "Yes Colonel!" came through. She knew that it would, she didn't need to hear it. Not now. "Put the Desire Drive activation on-hold until the Gem of Want calms down. I want to make sure that we don't end up anywhere we don't want to go." She turned to her retainer and handed her a clipboard, "Kara, please tell Admiral Vaaldur that the Desire Drive tests have been delayed."

"Yes maam." Her retainer ducked away soon after.

Yona took off her lab coat and swung her regular jacket over her slight frame, wearing the heavy leather solely on her shoulders. She turned and headed out again, leaving the black gemstone to it's fitful dreams.

---

Yona's office was a large empty space with slick black reflective floors. The room was largely empty, holding only her desk and two chairs. The only illumination came from outside two ceiling-to-floor panels of thick glass that provided a sweeping view of the hanger array. Yona leaned against the back of her chair, staring out at the Rising Dawn being repaired by the hurried shadows of her personnel.

The door opened.

"Here she is!" Mitte said, holding her hand high and presenting a drunken white-haired pirate with her other. Yona turned around. She definitely looks out of place here.

"I am Colonel Yona Isami," Yona put a cigarette in her mouth and lit it with a flick of her dagger. She took a deep breath and exhaled, letting the smoke cloud the meager light coming in from the hangar, "How can I help you?"

Cloudtop Citadel - The Rising Dawn
Security Private Peter Moore

Lieutenant Morrison waved at his team, and at once every muscle in Peter's body relaxed. There was a rustle as the squad lowered their weapons. It was a relief. "Not a hostile then," he looked Graham over. "Two foreigners in two days. We're really being filled to capacity here." Jacob gave a chortle as he sat down against the wall.

"It feels like these past 72 hours have been years" Jacob had spent the last three days awake. I don't blame him for his fatigue.

Lieutenant Morrison stepped forward and offered Graham a hand, "You are on the Rising Dawn, we're an international peace-keeping organization. Come with me and we'll get you filled in over a hot meal and good drinks."

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Airship Rising Dawn | A Totally Random Corridor
The Library
Ruby Babbage-Lovelace | Nina Zaczoltski Phillip!!! |

"...right now we have an adventure to finish, no silly bugs are going to stop us." Miss Nina said in a voice that filled with determination and was reinforced by a determined clench of her fist, "Slight detour sure, but we were planning on heading to the library after hitting that locked door anyways, so we were heading back to this spot anyways. Now, did you say something about a magic spell you had to get to the library?" She concluded her determination filled pep talk with a raised but still determined finger.

There was a small part of The Magical Fairy Princess in Pink that wondered why this hat was so important that the three, now four, of them needed to brave a creepy abandoned market and a horde of devil roaches bent on consuming every bit of flesh from their bones. This was definitely outweighed by the part of Ruby that was excited to be visiting The Library. While any library would have been fun to visit, visiting The Library was a very very VERY exciting prospect. However, before a trip to The Library could be arranged, the Miniature Magical Girl needed to first find the way.

"Mmmhmmm." The Pink Princess of Prestidigitation nodded in thought as she reached for the scrap of cloth she kept on her for such an occasion, "I'm not sure that you could really call it a spell but I guess that's one way to describe it..." She said as she unrolled the cloth, revealing it to be a portion of a frayed, pink baby blanket with fairies embroidered around the edges. Finding a small thread, the young girl began to pull on it, watching intently as cloth started to unwind.

"Untangled skein..." The girl muttered quietly.

"Hmmm.." Ruby hmm'd to herself as she read the pattern in the cloth that had been formed by the pulled thread,"Well... it's actually really really near by."

Walking a few feet down the corridor, the Nine Year Old Little Girl turned left and faced a wall, looking a bit uncertain as she looked back down at the pattern and then picked up her Grimoire, the pages flipping open of their own accord until the proper spell was displayed.

"Traversal of Space and Time... Miss Nina? You might want to stand back a little bit... maybe around the corner. This is the first time that I've ever tried this spell..."

With her warning finished, Ruby returned her attention to the blank wall and closed her eyes, though hesitant in warping reality and creating a gate that connected the ship to The Library, Ruby was fairly sure that the spell would work as intended. If one considered that magic was could be taken figuratively rather than literally, Ruby could alter the fabric woven by space and time and in doing so, she could stitch two points together, regardless of their distance from each other.

The air around the young child rippled for a moment before settling down. Opening one eye and then the other, Ruby Babbage-Lovelace breathed a sigh of relief. Had Nina been looking at Ruby directly from the side, it would have appeared that nothing happened but upon any change in viewing angle, Miss Nina would have seen a perfectly two dimensional portal standing in front of Ruby.

"Hi!" Ruby said with a happy wave as she passed through the temporary spacial/temporal stitch.


The Escapist Avatar Adventures | The Airship Rising Dawn | The Canteen
Self Destruction
Katya Rostikova

If someone were to ask Katya Rostikova if she was having a good day, the most likely response given the recent circumstances she found herself in would have been something to the effect of "What the fuck do you think?" It wasn't just that she'd felt betrayed and outcast from the people she'd tried to help but she felt doubly betrayed by what she had witnessed upon entering the Canteen. If she had considered anyone aboard the ship to be a friend, it would have been Dolores Selmy and the fact that the little backstabber had decided to make time with that Irish Cocksucker stung a bit more than a Brazilian waxing. To add insult to fucking injury, she'd been cut off before she'd even gotten on. With the sudden loss of power to the Canteen, the staff now had to worry about ensuring that the food in the non-working fridges didn't melt and that the drinks didn't mysteriously vanish under the cloak of darkness.

"Mom is going to kill us..." a voice in the darkness said, sounding the way Benedict Arnold probably sounded.

"Maybe someone should." The Never Level Headed Network Penetrator hissed as she stood up abruptly, sending her bar stool clattering to the ground. She was seeing red, both in the literal and the figurative manner and while this might have been the moment that something snapped inside of the Eighteen Year Old child, causing her to grab the nearest and largest fully automatic weapon in reach, she felt more self destructive than generally destructive, "If no one's going to give a shit... I won't" She muttered to herself as she looked around the room, seeing that people were giving her the side eye.

'Never needed friends before... why did I even think to start now..." The girl continued to mutter to herself as she pulled the envelope that Little Miss Stabby McStabface had given her from her pocket and gave it a once over. While the contents of one side was rather dull, the other one seemed right up Katya's alley given recent events BUT that would have to wait. Even if she was going to go out with a bang, she wasn't planning on going out without being banged. Turning back to the sisters, Katya gave them a rather lecherous look.

"Change of plans... who likes cherries?"

Rising Dawn: Canteen ------------------------------------------------------------------ 01:50 AM


Lt. Dolores Selmy

This is unacceptable. I knew that this was unacceptable, I knew that I should say something. Yet, for some reason I couldn't. I sat there, useless in my chair, contemplating the tightening in my chest. I wanted to reach out and grab a hold of Katya, to hold her and tell her that she needn't worry. But that's not something it seemed she wanted nor was it something I could do. I felt like a broken doll, something left aside to rot in obsolescence.

Saren had her head on the table and was looking somewhat ill. Thin strands of her hair rose into the air on currents of static stretching out from her body. Laeta, however, true to her natural constitution was none worse for the wear. She looked at her little sister and smiled, hardly affected at all by the straight liquor, "At least we know what happens now. A little more than what I expected, a little less than what the doctor predicted."

"My head... hurts..." Saren groaned.

"Anyway, if Mom asks, it was an accident. A mix-up in the drink orders." Laeta played with her thin braid.

"Change of plans... who likes cherries?"

Laeta turned her attention toward Katya, "Cherries? Kind of an odd question don'tcha think?" Saren groaned in response, as if to chide Laeta. "That's a no from Saren then."

I knew what she meant though. "I'll do it." I said finally. I didn't think at all, I couldn't feel the embarrassment, the horror, the pain within when I said it. I just knew I had to say it. "I'll do it. Katya..." I continued. Laeta gave me a strange look, as if sizing up my sudden vocalization. "I'm not useful for much else right? When it comes down to it, I'm just a piece of meat. I can't fight, I'm not smart. Now I can't even move by myself. But I can still do that, at least."

Be a good little Dolly and let us play with you. A phantom whisper. You want to make everyone like you, right?

A flicker of emotion shocked the base of my spine and made my stomach uneasy. I gripped the handles on my chair. Don't you want to be loved? You don't want to suffer, so just relax and be a good doll. Words from a lifetime ago. Of another girl, in another body.

Come to think of it, that was the first time she had met Isaac.

Laeta looked at me with growing clarity, and then her body tensed. She was frozen in place by equal parts rising shock and fury. Though, I couldn't tell who it was directed at. I felt ill at ease, knowing not only her glare, but the venomous gaze of other entities. I knew I was drawing attention.

"If it'll make you happy, please use me Katya." After all, my name is Dolores. It means to suffer. What else am I good for?

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Airship Rising Dawn | Rising Dawn's Library
The Dim Library
Ruby Babbage-Lovelace | Nina Zaczoltski | Phillip!!! | Golem of Cloth

If the hat had truly been passed the ocean of ichor roaches, even Nina may have given up on it. It was up to one's imagination what exactly the bugs had wanted to do with them if they'd managed to catch the group, but that was in the past now, she'd give management a talking to about their infestation issues later. There was adventure to be had, and like she'd proclaimed, they would succeed in reclaiming her hat!

Phillip climbed up Nina's body rather effortlessly, perching on her shoulder and looping a tentacle or two around her for support while Nina watched curiously as to what Ruby was doing with the thread. "Well magical mumbo jumbo?" Nina replied when Ruby questioned if she could call what she was doing as a spell. As always, Nina didn't have the prior knowledge of magic to know exactly what Ruby was doing to discern what it'd qualify as other than making physics cry.

Regardless Nina watched intently, rather curious as to what the 'spell' would do. Would the thread extend through the hallways to lead them to the library? Would it produce some sort of map that would guide them to their destination? Maybe, just maybe the thread would fly over and weave into her own clothing, make little wings and they would just flutter them to the library? While Nina was slowly going over ascending levels of complicated what ifs, Phillip lazily ejected out the jar of eldritch bugs in his possession, giving it a quite shake. The jar was practically stuffed to the brim leaving little to no space for anything to move let alone breathe in there. One could consider it to be rather cruel of Phillip to leave the poor things in there, but he didn't seem to mind as his curiosity seemed to be sated with this brief inspection. The jar was quickly engulfed by tentacle after tentacle until once again it disappeared from view. Nina did give a momentary glance to her noodley rider, but seemed more interested in Ruby's own exploits, at least until her eyes shifted from Ruby's prep work to part of the wall a few feet away from them. 'Did someone spill something over there? That's a pretty nasty stain?' She thought to herself as Ruby walked into her gaze, grabbing Nina's attention again as Ruby warned her "Miss Nina? You might want to stand back a little bit... maybe around the corner. This is the first time that I've ever tried this spell..."

Caught a bit off guard by the request, Nina absent mindedly stared back at the little one before looking back and forth before doing a brisk jog to the end of the hallway and peaking her head around the corner while Phillip hung from her shoulder like a draped cloak. Thankfully, there was no explosions, no blackholes, and thankfully no mutant rubber ducks! Nina however was looking from that sweet spot where she couldn't see the portal Ruby had made, frankly she'd been expecting at least something? "So... did it work?" She quietly muttered to herself, following her looking over her shoulder to Phillip. "Well, how am I supposed to know it worked?! I'm all the way over here?" She replied back indignantly, apparently Phillip relaying that in fact Ruby had succeeded in making the portal.

By the time Nina had looked back Ruby had already passed through, leaving the temporary guardian to give the area a brief once over before heading to the portal. "Ruby?" She called out before spotting her through the portal prompting her to give a sigh of relief. "That's like what? Four people now? Five?" Commenting on just how many people she'd met so far that had some sort of transporting powers. Eventually catching up with Ruby within the rows upon rows of book shelves. "Not exactly what I had in mind, but gold star for efficiency~" Nina complemented Ruby, looking around to get her bearings. "Well, as long as there isn't any more interruptions, we should be-" Nina started to say tempting fate as a certain technomancer's drunken state killed all the lights, if only for a moment before the backup power kicked in. "OH COME ON!!" She exclaimed.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel

Cloudtop Citadel: David West, Cloudtop Citadel personnel

"......Fuck you too, lady..." David muttered under his breath after Yona walked off.
While the notion of putting a bullet in them all and calling it a day was a rather tempting one, Considering he was about to meet the same fate of execution/torture without a trial less then 24 hours ago, he wasn't pleased by the idea.
Plus, he was REALLY looking forward to that promotion and forcing Rugal to address him by Rank and prisoners dying under his watch wouldn't aid him in that regard.
As he began to leave the Administration sector, he was greeted by this Vihaan fellow, responding to his greeting with "If I had to take a guess, the no booze thing is more for her sake then anything else. It's always the really uptight ones that can't handle their drink. David West, Agent of UNIT."

A bit of walking and talking later, he brought up the fate of his poor flask, to which David responded "Ehhhh...ah, sure, might as well. Just don't try to hook me up with someone, I'm spoken for and I enjoy having my genitals attached to my body."
As he walked alongside Vihaan, he began to notice all the details in his outfit and equipment, namely how the guy looked like a Mish-Mash of those "Mang-Gah" characters Teri kept telling him about.
"...Hellva get up you got there. You heading to a convention of something?" He jabbed with a playful nudge on the shoulder as they re-entered the elevator.

The Rising Dawn
Med Bay

Morning


Diana | Jenny

"You misunderstand. I don't date humans." She responded back as she kept up their mental battle, only to realize she was starting to falter in her efforts.
"This is your last chance. Don't make me have to injure you..." She asked rather politely as she redoubled her efforts on defense as her psionic offense on Diana's mind came to a halt.
It appeared she was trying to force a stalemate now, extra layers of Reflect Barriers starting to come into place to reinforce the existing ones as they slowly pushed back the monster snarling at her.
"Besides, even you have to admit that it would be a lot faster and easier to just tell me how to help Dr. Violet. So just tell me and we can both walk away from this. M-might even buy you a drink?" The Gardevoir then suggested, altering her stance to a more fearful and submissive one in the hopes it would sate Diana's ego just long enough...

[[Secondary Scenario]]


Maiden's Wish
side story

"Never ask for anything, but desire everything."

Vihaan turned around and looked at David quizzically. "Get up?" he said aloud. His mantle jingled as if to answer. The service elevator clicked as it ascended, counting the floors up from the first, slowly and steadily toward the fourth floor. Vihaan motioned to his outfit, "This outfit is quite normal for people like me."

"Well, I guess I just never met any 'normal people like you.'" David snarked, a bit bitter about his poor innocent flask.
"I mean, what are ya? An Officer? A Priest? A-...Waiter?" He then asked, running out of ways to point out that his outfit looked weird.

The elevator doors opened.

"Admiral Vaaldur!" Kara said, saluting. Another pretty one, but stiff and professional. Blue uniform with a clean blonde bob. Behind her spectacles were eyes of a stone-cold soldier.

Vihaan did not so much respect Kara's strict professionalism, instead he flashed her a smile. "What can I help you with, beautiful?" He leaned against the wall and raised his eyebrows as if to look cool.

"The Desire Drive activation as been delayed to tomorrow, sir." Kara reported.

"That is fine, as long as my desire for you isn't going to be put off as well," Vihaan continued, raising his eyebrows suggestively. There was a pause as Kara bowed and saw herself out. Vihaan laughed boyishly.

"Right! Admirals! They are the military guys with the awesome outfits!" He densely remarked once he figured out what Vihaan was.
"Right... ahem sorry sir. I didn't know." David then said, a bit worried about his comments earlier pissing off another commanding officer of the base.

Vihaan turned to David and shrugged, "There is very little need for such formality David. I am no Admiral in your sense of the word." He spun around to show David the extent of his uniform. "I am Vihaan Vaaldur, Admiral of the Rising Dawn's First Supernatural Investigations Fleet." He curtsied, dipping his head so that the crown on his head was fully visible. It was shaped like BlackHarte's eye, David vaguely recalled.

"Ahhhh, I gotcha now. Sorry, just feel like I already upset enough people here for one day," he said while stretching the back of his head nervously. "Still, uh, you said you could bring us to someone who could fix, uh, this?" he then shifted the topic back to fixing his flask as if doing so would make the situation less awkward.

The two men stepped onto the Foundry floor, and felt the sudden rush of hot air. The floor was like an engine, beating hard and fast with steam and gas. Burning furnaces raged alongside the walls as huge machine arms reached up and down moving crates of scrap metal, liquid metal, and cast metal between the floors. The fires sent glowing embers of molten metal high into the air to rain down as gentle warm ash. The staff here moved efficiently, weaving between the machines in white uniforms. Vihaan wove through the machines and staff, stopping every now and again to greet one of the women working, either with a polite bow or a not-so-innocent hug. Generally though, the young Admiral seemed to be well liked. Some of the women pat him gently on the head while others slapped him on the back as he passed, leaving ashen hand-prints on his cream-colored robe.

After a good distance of weaving back and forth, Vihaan finally stopped in front of a more antiquated forge. A small kiln burned away as several sheets of metal lay cooking in the coals. A little bit away, an older woman - perhaps nearly in her sixties - white haired, wrinkled, but still with arms full of strength sat hammering away at a tiny chain link.

"This is Janet Colsworth, last of a looooong line of blacksmiths," Vihaan said as he held his arms out as if he was presenting a prize.

She looked up, eyes hidden behind dark glass, "And who have you dragged along to my office, Vihaan."

AA Verse | Cloudtop Citadel | The Rising Dawn
Joshua Graham

As the group around him lowered their weapons, Joshua in turn lowered his arms. He didn't know what they meant by foreigners but it appeared he wasn't the first to simply "appear" like this. Seeing their relaxed posture put him off to a degree. Even if someone isn't immediately hostile in the Mojave they could turn on you at any point. He did notice the tired looks the group was giving and the 72 hour comment must mean that whatever this place was, it was on high alert.

He was thankful for their welcoming attitude as they offered him food and drink. "Thank you, being a good neighbor to your fellow man is a service in the eyes of the Lord after all." The term international confused him as he had never heard of such an organization that was world wide. Perhaps he had been more isolated with the Dead Horses than he originally thought. He'd keep that question for later however as he didn't want to let on how in the dark he currently was.

Instead he decided to ask, "It seems you've all been rather busy?" It was a statement as well as a question.

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Rising Dawn: King Leoric's room | King Leoric, Nadalia


"My dear Leoric, thou'st has done thee such a service indeed ..."

"Well, my being would still be contained within that World Marshall prison if it wasn't for you. While I do now know a cure to your curse, I am glad that that I could aid you like you have aided me..." Leoric warmly said with something akin to a smile on his face skull.
He didn't seem too bothered by what his amulet had done to Nadalia nor the fact that she seemed to "Revert" into a a more primal and nude version of herself.
Well, he did notice that second part and quickly adverted his eyes.
"...having that said, might I suggest covering yourself? While I'm glad I've rejuvenated you, there is ill-need for immodesty..." He then requested with a somewhat embarrassed tone in his spectral voice.
"Actually, hold a moment. Servants!"

Upon the Skeleton King's command, the amulet glowed before a series of souls escaped from it, each one striking the ground gently before 3 skeletons formed, each one clad in Outfits and Facial hair they had borrowed from the imps.
"Find something to clad your new Sovereign. I'd rather not mark her return to form with a scandal about her modesty..." He then ordered before the 1 of the servants went about getting her measurements while the others went to look for suitable attire for the Iron Queen.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Airship Rising Dawn | Outside the Library
The Library? Not Quite
Ruby Babbage-Lovelace | Nina Zaczoltski Phillip!!! |

A strong wind ripped through Ruby Babbage-Lovelace's black and white hair as she passed through the portal, her eyes having involuntarily shut themselves tightly to keep from being blinded by the portal's chaotic, churning, vortex of colors and energy. Being that this was the first time she'd cast this particular spell, she was unsure as to whether the hurricane like gust of wind was supposed to be normal or if this was something else entirely. Opening her eyes, the Pink Dressed Princess of Prestidigitation was relieved to see that her spell had worked, to a certain degree, and she had not sent both her and Miss Nina to some otherworldly location where they would choke to death on toxic gasses the moment they passed through the dimensional door, or sent out the portal's exit in big fleshing chucks of raw meat. On the other hand, it was obvious that the spell needed a small bit of tweaking, especially when it came to the exit's vertical location.

"(I must have misplaced a decimal point...)" The Ribbon Wearing Witch thought to herself as she looked down and saw that she was roughly one mile above the location that she wanted to be... which meant that she positioned the portal's exit in the middle of empty sky... which meant that she was currently plunging to her very messy but quick and messy death, splattered against the roof of the Rising Dawn. Turning around to look above her she noticed that Miss Nina had just exited the portal, and was probably screaming her lungs out or cursing Ruby's name. If the latter option was the case, it was probably a good thing that Ruby couldn't hear her over the sound of the wind rushing past her head.

"I'M SORRY MISS NINA!" Ruby called out to her very temporary guardian before she turned around and tried to think of what she could do. If she cast a fireball against the top part of the Rising Dawn, it would probably do a bit of damage but not enough to breach the ship's armor. A lightning bolt would have been dispersed by the ship's metal hull. A meteor strike would have probably caused the ship to fall from the sky. Water... well... it would have caused a bad case of rust.

"*SQUEAK! SQUEAK!*" Something squeaked next to the Nine-Year-Old Skydiver's head, causing the young girl to notice that her miniature cloth golem had grabbed onto her and was looking intently at her. The other thing that she noticed was that the golem didn't speak words, rather he squeaked at her like some sort of doggy chew tow. "*SQUEAK! SQUEAK! SQUEAK!"

"OKAY! OKAY! I GOT IT!!!" Ruby exclaimed loudly as she listened to Ollie Golly Golem's plan before watching as the cloth sack puppet tightened himself into a ball, cutting down on his drag and falling faster than Ruby and Miss Nina. As he did so, the Pink Princess of Prestidigitation unwrapped Gleipnir, the long ribbon she kept wrapped around her arm, from around her, allowing it to trail behind her like a long flag, willing the pink fetter to reach out towards Miss Nina, who would hopefully understand that Ruby wanted her to grab it and allow it to wrap itself around the Temporary Flying Babysitter's wrists. Unable to worry about Miss Nina and longer, Ruby prepared another spell, hoping that Ollie Golly Golem's plan would work.

*POOF!*

The sound and sensation of wind rushing past her died away dramatically as Ruby felt her rate of descent decrease dramatically due to the sudden transformation of Ruby's dress into a waist worn parachute. Looking up she saw Miss Nina closing in on her, barely avoiding a collision.

"Grab the ribbon Miss Nina!!!" Ruby called out before she heard a loud boom in the distance.

*BOOM!*

Looking down towards the source of the sound, she noticed that there was now a hole where Olly Golly Golem's impact had ripped through the armor on the top of the Airship. Conveniently enough, it was over the location of the library.


The Escapist Avatar Adventures | The Airship Rising Dawn | The Canteen
Deflated...
Katya Rostikova

"I'll do it."
"I'll do it. Katya..."
"I'm not useful for much else right? When it comes down to it, I'm just a piece of meat. I can't fight, I'm not smart. Now I can't even move by myself. But I can still do that, at least."
"If it'll make you happy, please use me Katya."

Standing in the middle of the Canteen, Katya Rostikova felt herself unconsciously facepalm at the response that she'd received from Dolly as she felt her conflicting thoughts pull her in three different directions. Of the three, the desire with the least amount of pull was the desire to pull Dolores off into one of the many not so private and not so sound proofed rooms nearby for a sensual scissor session with her pathetic former pal. The fact that Dolores would offer herself up as a piece of meat for Katya's pleasure had a fair amount to do with her own desire to puke in response to the display of pathetic passivity, clubbing both her desire to get shitfaced and her desire to get laid over the head like a baby harp seal.

"Goddamit..." Katya muttered softly nefore looking up at Dolores, her eyes burning not with lust but rather with both concern and anger, "I don't know whether I need to hug you or break your fucking nose."

Having come straight from the bitch's mouth, one could have been sure that she was feeling that tug in either direction. On the one hand there was Dolly consorting with the enemy, that drunken Irish bastard that needed a lesson on how to show appreciation. On the other hand was the fact that Katya felt a certain kinship towards her fellow lover of all things Japanese... one that haphazardly bordered on friendship. More than anything, Katya had once been in Dolly's position... weak, injured, self-loathing and self-doubting... and she hated it. That Little Miss Wounded Bird had decided become so wrapped up in these feelings horrified the formerly dying debutante.

"What the fuck is wrong with you Dolores Selmy? You are smart you dumb shit. The fact that you think that you're stupid is what makes you fucking stupid! Also, you're not useless either! You managed to almost kill that super powered magical kid with the smoke powers and stuff... you survived getting impaled by a bunch of metal bars AND you successfully dismantled my attempt to piss you off and hurt your feeling by hurting mine instead!" The 18 year old young woman admitted loudly in the middle of the Canteen, sober as a red panda, "You've got balls to go fight a bunch of power powered psychopaths despite having no super powers, you've got the strength to survive, you've got the intelligence to understand the wonders of anime... but for fuck's sake... put a computer points into your perception stat and see that you're not a goddamned person... not a fucking sex toy! So guess what, Dolly, I'm not going to mash my goodies all up in your face, I'm going to sit here and talk to you... like I should instead of trying to find an opportunity to scream 'U Mad Bro'at you, why don't we sit here and drink some shots while you tell me exactly what the hell is misfiring in that brain of your's."

~Splish!~

The tears that had been steadily building up in the corners of Katya's eyes lost their fight with gravity and landed on the bar's wooden surface.

"Dammit... now I'm crying... The girl exclaimed weakly as she wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her long sleeved dress, "You're lucky you're my friend... or I'd... I'd... block you from torrenting anime or logging into Crunchyroll."

The Rising Dawn
Med Bay

Morning


Diana | Jenny

Diana was indeed slightly reducing the pressure as Jenny asked her out for a drink. That sounds lovely, my dear. But it won't be enough to tell you about Violet, unless you want to be my slave.
Which I honestly doubt, I'm not that naive.

With that spoken, she increased the pressure again, putting her full strength into breaking the physical barriers, while her mind was open for a single second.


Cloudtop Citadel
Yona's office

Morning?


Mio | Mitte | Yona Isami

Mio looked at the colonel introducing herself. There seemed to be something slightly off, but other than that ... well, she was pretty perfect.
"Hi!" Mio said, putting on her most charming smile. "I am Mio Kaizuko, most feared pirate on the Seven Seas and I think I lost my ship when accidentally traveling to another world.
You see, I was fighting this giant demon kraken, of course no problem, if it did not just let me fly through a portal. Or something like that. In truth, I don't really know how I got here.

It does not matter, though. I am missing my ship, my crew - even if yours seems better in certain departments -" She had a huge grin on her face. "It is still my crew. Well, and apparently I have not only lost my ships, but also my treasure, including my friggin' arm.
So I am searching for this, while also searching for new booty and adventure, of course! So, can you help me? In all of those departments?"

While waiting for an answer, Mio then took out a pocket flask, unscrewed it with her teeth and took a deep sip.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel

Cloudtop Citadel: David West, Cloudtop Citadel personnel

David was sweating like nuts once they got into the Foundry, even going so far to take off his trademark jacket, revealing a white running top underneath.
He was so warm he was even attempting to get the last drops of liquor out of his broken flask once Vihaan introduced him to Janet.
"Ah, sorry about that. I swear, you need to get some AC in here. David West, UNIT Special Envoy to the Rising Dawn. Pleasure to meet cha." He said before offering his hand to be shaken.
"Hell of an operation you got going here. Did a bit of Metalworking over the years, mostly weapon mods, partly car mods, made a pair of custom cuff-links once too." He pointed out, attempting to sell himself before the professional.
"Just if there is any spare tools or something, I might fix up my flask. Just-...bit of a run in with the Colonel and I'd like to get it fixed. Kinda a good luck charm, the kind you'd pass onto your kids, you know." The sniper then asked before bringing the two pieces of the flask.

Cloudtop Citadel - The Rising Dawn
Security Private Peter Moore

"Private Moore," Morrison said. Peter jolted to attention and swung his arm up in a haphazard salute.

"Yessir!" Peter replied.

"Take Mr. Graham to the Canteen and get him acquainted with his new world. I'm going to take the rest of the squad to meet up with Citadel security and upload our combat data from the Black Mesa incursion to the database." Lieutenant Morrison waved for the rest of the squad to follow him as he left.

There was a simple silence that followed between Peter and Joshua. the two men were about the same height and build, but Joshua was not only older, but also carried himself in a way that was altogether different from the air of inexperience that followed Peter like a cloud. Peter cleared his throat and nodded as Joshua as he led them toward the Canteen. "We've been engaged in combat for the past week or so non-stop. Though it does feel like it's been a year or four."

The two men walked in the red-washed hallways, footfalls echoing in the empty corridors. "The Rising Dawn is a proactive peacekeeping unit, so it's our job to look out for threats and stop them before they become a problem. A lot of the time that also means having to stare down the full force of a mobilized enemy." Peter turned a corner into the Canteen.

The large ceiling-to-floor windows in the Canteen gave a spectacular view of the Citadel's internal hanger. From the sheer amount of lights, whirring machines, and moving bodies below - the simple scale of the operation dwarfed civilization itself in the post-war Mojave.

Peter looked up and noticed two engineer corp members working on patching a hole in the ceiling just over the bar. A little further in, an officer was sitting at a table with a couple of heroes. He blinked away the shadows in the red light. Lieutenant Selmy? he grimaced, wasn't she gravely injured in the deployment to Denver? Maybe the darkness was playing games with his eyes.

"I'll order something for you to eat and drink, anything you'd like in particular?"

Rising Dawn: Canteen ------------------------------------------------------------------ 02:00 AM


Lt. Dolores Selmy

I held my breath as I watch Katya settle down. The tears that rolled down her cheeks glimmered in warm red light. "Is that really how you see me?" I couldn't truly understand the feelings stirring within my own heart. There was happiness and yet there was also pain. A deep throbbing wound that shuddered as my spirit roused. I reached out and placed a hand on her shirt, letting the weight of my fingers pool into the folds of the thread.

I smiled, "Thank you for your kind words, truly."

Yet if your insecurities were really that easily overturned, you would not need me.

Laeta sat back down with a bounce. She seemed more than relieved that the tension in the air had slackened. I had never noticed, but her eyes shone in the darkness like amethysts, cast purple by red light. Saren hit the floor with a dull thud, lazily turning over in a drunken stupor. Laeta bent down to help the younger girl up, making sure to gently crease her jacket so that her sensitive skin would not come in contact with the cold metal of the chair.

Katya pulled up a chair and sat down. In a matter of moments, there were cups on the table and an assortment of liquors. I tried to remember what they were by the shape of their bottles, but I couldn't remember. I knew that I had worked with drinks for a long time - in both part time jobs before the Rising Dawn, and for some time thereafter. Yet, as I reached for the flared neck of a heavy-bottomed bottle I couldn't help but feel that the cool glass was foreign and rough. Still I poured both of us a glass of the amber liquor. I took a small sip. It slid down my throat like glass and left a trail of fire. I coughed.

I put the glass down and let both my hands rest gently in my lap, "I said a lot I didn't mean to say," I started, "a lot of it comes from deep down, to be completely honest, so deep that it's from the time before, well... my first memories."

Laeta sighed and stood up, picking up Saren as she did, "If you're going to try and tell that story, I'm going to go get Isaac."

I looked up, confused.

"Like it or not Lola. And I am speaking to you big sister, Isaac was the first person to find you the day you lost your memories, and he's the one with the best interpretation of what's actually wrong with you." Laeta grimaced, her eyes gleamed, brilliant like a hawk's. I never noticed, but Laeta had the same eyes as both my father and mother. Fierce, strong and predatory. But she had always hidden her true nature behind a guise of foolishness and promiscuity that it was impossible to gauge her capabilities.

"Hold on a second," I said, chewing on my lip. I didn't particularly want to know what Isaac knew, "Let's not go too deep, too quickly." I looked at Katya, "You have been good to me," I said, reaching for her hands, "even though I've only known you for several days, I can say that I feel like I've been with you for years. If you want to know about me, I cannot deny you. Yet, if you would rather for use to simply drink and whittle the early hours away watching anime, I'd be more than fine with that."

Mankind's greatest folly is his desire for independence. Yet the ties that bind have the capability to be just as dangerous, isn't that right, Dolores?

AA Verse | Cloudtop Citadel | The Rising Dawn | Canteen
Joshua Graham

Joshua watched as the Lieutenant left him to be escorted by a private Moore. Graham quickly did his best to covertly scrutinize the private. The kid was young and inexperienced that much was apparent. There was a time when he remembered being that green but those days were long gone. The kid was a bit nervous with him which was fine. Joshua preferred to negotiate from higher grounds and the kid was talking fast enough that he didn't really have a chance to reply anyways.

He listened to the private talk for a few minutes as the two of them walked through the halls of the Rising Dawn. The kid has said something about being in combat constantly for the past week. There was war wherever he was and he imagined he wouldn't stay out of it for long. A small smile graced his lips as the private said how the past week felt like a year. Joshua knew the feeling a little too well as he continued following. During his days as Caesar's Legate many of the battles seemed to drag on. Your worst moments in life always did seem to last the longest but God had always been there by his side to see him through.

The disconcerting red lighting in the halls didn't bother Joshua much as he realized it was more of a high security state rather than an active attack. He mulled over the privates next few words as he thought about their peacekeeping unit. It seemed almost hypocritical in a way to enforce peace through violence but he had yet to really see anything they had done. He had to give them the benefit of the doubt for now. He could admire their bravery at least if the private's words were truthful.

Then he saw the view as they entered through a doorway into a new room. He had seen a lot of things serving Caesar but this took the cake. The Mojave and the entirety of the East couldn't even begin to compare to what he was seeing in this one room. He did his best but he paused for a moment and his hand shook. That was all the outside indication he gave but on the inside his mind (to put it simply) was imploding. Everything he understood about the world he lived in was drastically changed. It was like he was back in the Old World he had never even lived in. There were so many people, lights, and ships? He had never even seen most of these advanced aircraft before. The sheer scope of it all made him pause. He was quick to regain himself however but remained quiet for the rest of their short journey.

He had so many questions going through his head. Where was he? When was he? Was he even in the Capital Wasteland anymore? This was... Normal for the people here? Everyone acted like the jobs they were doing were menial and boring. Was this a miracle from God himself? Who had bestowed this kindness on him? The Burned Man silently thanked the Courier for his kindness now.

The two were in what looked like a bar of some kind. If he remembered right, the private had seen canteen. Joshua had almost missed Peter's question due to the previous room but answered, "Just... Water please."

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Airship Rising Dawn | Outside the Library (Above the Dawn!)
"WHERE IS MY PACKAGE OF PEANUTS!"
Ruby Babbage-Lovelace | Nina Zaczoltski Phillip!!! |

"That's like what? Four people now? Five?" Nina questioned aloud, about to once again cross through another threshold of a portal from this to that. Each one had been different from one way or another, so as the wind started rushing passed Nina as she plummeted to her death, she was left with one thought in her mind. 'Ruby really needs to learn from Ryan or Sloth, this portal kinda sucks..!'

With the high winds blasting passed Nina, she could only try to bring up an arm to break some of the blow back so she could look around. This was certainly an unorthodox method of travel she thought, even with Sloth's portal at least it got them to a destination immediately even if they needed to make a quick pit stop to make the whole thing work. Nina'd dealt with air travel in the past, connecting flights certainly weren't unheard of, but she was starting to feel like this was taking it a bit more literally than was necessary.

Phillip was feeling something entirely different to Nina however. After making a last minute attempt to pull them back through the portal to safety, he'd been jettisoned aggressively out of the portal in turn. He still clung to Nina's side, fighting against the roaring wind which was seeming rather difficult. Due to his light weight, large surface area, and the constant battering of Nina's hair against him at nearly 195km/h; Phillip was finding it particularly annoying to keep connected with Nina. "WHAT!?" Nina shouted tilting her head back to Phillip, not really able to see him through her sea of yellow. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" unable to hear Phillip's complaints. Now Phillip did resist blunt force, but much like water torture, there's a limit one would be willing to take. As such one tentacle, despite the wind, grapple the mass of hair assaulting him and forcing it down close to the back of Nina's head. Oddly enough in this situation, the hair made a makeshift chute of inspiration.

While Nina had been falling in a rather unimpressed upside down fashion, she wished she had a nice stylish pair of goggles, the air was making her eyes tear up. It made it really hard to see after all, and with it being so loud, she was left to her own thoughts. 'What's taking so long? Do I need to do something special? Ugh where'd Ruby get off to anyways, I can't see her with all this w-!' Nina thought before she suddenly slowed down! "OH! What wait? Phillip?!" Nina looked up to see Phillip had been busy. Grappling a large amount of Nina's torso to ensure they stayed connected, Phillip had extended a hefty amount of tentacles behind them to create a pseudo chute. Despite this, Nina was still in serious danger if she tried to land now, easily breaking many things, but at least she could make out what Phillip was saying. "YA, I KNOW! I WAS JUST THINKING THAT TOO! THIS IS TAKING FOREVER!" She shouted back, Phillip obviously replying in turn as she continued. "YOU'RE RIGHT, WE SHOULD ASK RUBY!" Nina agreed as she started scanning the way below, Phillip giving her a squeeze of her shoulder before a guiding tentacle pointed her in the right direction.

"W-What is that? Oh. I SAID, WHAT IS THAT!? Oh... Well why didn't you say anything before?" Nina relayed as she saw the ribbon approaching them. "You get the feeling that's important..? Good, it isn't just me then! LET'S GET IT!!!" She proclaimed as Phillip adjusted some tendrils to start their fall towards the pink savior. Given Ruby's magical ribbon, what would have been a monumental task would be made child's play. Simply getting relatively close to the ribbon caused it to lash out to grab Nina's arms securely..

With Ruby acting as the pivot, Nina swung as the ribbon slowly took over supporting her weight as she approached equilibrium. Both the ribbon hold and Phillip's chute allowing Nina's arms enough time to adjust to this without them being ripped off. Once she was hanging proper, Phillip would reduce his size while keeping his tentacles out. "HEY! SO WE ALMOST THERE RUBY? NOT TO BE A NUDGE BUT THIS IS EASILY THE LONGEST PORTAL TRIP WE'VE GONE ON!" Nina called out finally reunited with Ruby.

[RETRACTING CUZ WAS SUCC]

[[Secondary Scenario]]


Maiden's Wish
side story

"Never ask for anything, but desire everything."

Janet took the flask from David's hands and gave it a look over, "It's nothing special, but if it means that much to you, I'll give it a good once over." She placed the two halves of the flask in the red embers of her furnace and let them sit until they were red hot. "A run in with the Colonel eh?" she whistled as she retrieved the two halves and placed them on a rounded anvil. "She's a hot-headed one that lass," Janet continued as she started to solder the two halves of the flask back together, "Not from around here. When she first arrived, she was no more than a child. A strange looking one too. Tiny, skinny, holding onto a spear as if it were her own mother. Wore strange clothes too. All white and gold from head to toe. Didn't speak a lick of English and was scared to death of men." She put the flask into a water trough to cool. The sudden flash of steam caught Vihaan off guard and he stumbled backwards.

"But in the end, I think she's a good soul. Wants nothing more than to go home, wherever that is." Janet took the flask out and put it back in the furnace before stoking the coals. "The rumor is that she's from some other dimension or whatsit. I don't believe it, but to hear her talk about her homeland, well. She's a good storyteller and a convincin' leader. That much is true." She pulled the flask out and started to smooth out the scar on the flask with a narrow clamp. "Don't hold it against her, she means well, but isn't very good at talking. That's why I think she surrounds herself with so many people that love her. So she don't need to speak much. English isn't her first language, and every now and again I can hear her lapse into whatever it is she speaks. It makes her uncomfortable to be here, in society."

Janet handed the flask back to David, ship shape and none the worse for wear. "Don't hold it against her lad, she's a good girl. Quick to act and of few words. She's lost, afraid, and wanting for her home."

---

The dagger flashed as Yona dashed forward. Her movements were segmented and broken, as if between each step her form vanished into another world. Mio saw the footsteps coming by the dust that kicked up on the floor each time Yona landed in her stride. The room glowed bright and hot with the shimmering light of sparks.

Steel danced against steel and the screeching song of grinding metal tore deep into Mio's skull.

Yona landed several steps in front of the white-haired pirate. Her blue eyes were framed by the dying embers drifting around her.

"Let's not get hasty now, Colonel." Mitte said cheerfully as she sheathed a broadsword back into a holster hidden on her outer thigh. "The poor girl didn't know."

Yona gave Mitte and Mio a deadly glare before spinning her flame-kissed dagger in her hand. "Zero-tolerance, no alcohol."

Mitte capped the flask in Mio's hand for her. "It is so," Mitte said, "please refrain from drinking while you are outside of the Rising Dawn. There are a lot of sensitive instruments that would be adversely affected by vaporous alcohol." Mitte smiled and cocked her head.

Yona put her dagger away and turned back toward the window. There was a silence before she spoke, her voice was hard and unwavering, "With many of the things you desire, we have no ability to assist you. That being said however, there is one thing we are working on." Yona turned around to face Mio. She rest her hands on her hip, looked sternly at Mio and said straight-faced, "We're working on the technology to breach dimensional walls and facilitate inter-planar travel for mortal peoples. In more simple words, we're trying to learn how to send people back to the worlds they came from."

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Rising Dawn: King Leoric's room | King Leoric, Nadalia


"It is quite alright, Iron Queen. Should you ever need my aid, merely ask and I shall provide as best I can. Thristram has fallen but their nobility and pride live on though me." Leoric remarked as he got changed back into his Royal Armor, fresh off a quick polish and gleaming in the electronic light.
The Servant backed off as his fake facial hair began to burn from Nadalia's heat, the lot of them soon returning to the enchanted Gorget now that their mistress had been served.
"Now then, shall we be off? I wish to examine this "Cloudtop Citadel" for myself. They appear to be allies of the brave warriors of this vessel and I wish to help forge an alliance to secure my new kingdom." Leoric then asked, looking suitably royal (Lack of flesh not withstanding) as he lead the two of them out of his chambers.
"You know, I feel you would have thrived in our world. With the Eternal Conflict ever raging, it has left humanity lead by-...well, sheep. They know nothing of a strong leader and you could be just the type of monarch they require. I used to think myself as one but-...I believe you recall my fate..." He then suggested, rather liking the idea of the Iron Queen ruling a region near Khanduras, perhaps she could find her place in the sands of Aranoch.
For now, it was time to correct the suspicions of anyone who thought her weak...

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel

Cloudtop Citadel: David West, Vihaan, Janet

"Figured it was something like that...Poor woman...Growing enough is enough of a battle for a kid, nevermind fighting in someone else's..." David remarked as he heard the colonel's story from the blacksmith.
While the Rising Dawn had a number of under-age members, David still made his stance of putting children in the line of fire, now, if they grew up and still wanted to serve, more power to them, it's what he did.
His political views were soon pushed aside when he noticed the flawless finish on his flask once Janet handed it back to him.
"...Damn...I think it's in better condition now then it was when I bought it! Hellva job, ma'am." He remarked as he examined it, looking nothing like the cheap pile of crap he purchased while waiting in line at a cafe in Iraq almost a lifetime ago.
"Well, you'll be glad to know that she's not even in the top 10 biggest jackasses I've met with that rank. Thanks again for this. Listen, you need anything done? Let me know. Once UNIT pick up those dirtbags in the brig, I'mma have a LOT of sway with my people and an outfit just as fancy as the Admiral's here." The Sniper joked, patting Vihaan on the back and unknowing marring his outfit with a dirty oily handprint.
"But real talk: Means a lot to me. Need a favor and I'll make it happen."

The Rising Dawn
Med Bay

Morning


Diana | Jenny

"Oh, that's alright. I was just trying to distract you." ^_~

Diana then stumbled forward as the Gardevoir seemed to disappear from-...well reality if I'm being honest.
There was no trace of her and even her wheelchair seemed to vanish as the shapeshifter looked around, finding the entire medical bay to be strangely-...empty...There was no other souls to be found, no sound could be heard apart from a pair of short-stride footsteps."It's over Diana. You've lost. Now, can you please tell me what you did to Dr. Violet?..." Jenny asked as he walked into view, no longer clad in bandages, walking around as if she as 100% healthy and now sporting a crimson hue to her normally green hair."Confused? You let your guard down just long enough...We are currently in your head right now actually...You can think of me as a little..."Virus", uploaded directly into your mind's Hard Drive." The mimic coyly pointed out before tapping the side of her head."There are two ways this can play out...Either you give me what Jenny wants and I leave or..."

Moving her hand out, a large medical-looking filing cabinet began morph out of the floor underneath but this one was special, hence a large marker drawn label that wrote "Diana's memories".
"I'm going to just have to start tearing though these until I find what I'm after and, believe me, if you think you are confused now...Just wait until I wipe out the last 20 years of your life..." She then threatened before sliding the first drawer open...

---

While Diana entertained Jenny's phantom within her mind, in the Real World the Shapeshifter's monstrous form dozed lightly at the base of Jenny's wheelchair.A smug look appeared on Jenny's face before she wheeled herself back into Dr. Violet's room, waiting for her "Clone" to get what she needed out of Diana's mind.And hopefully before Diana pushed her buttons and made things worse for herself

Cloudtop Citadel - The Rising Dawn
Security Private Peter Moore

"Asamatte! Hidahei!" Peter called out to the kitchens. After a short pause, a darkness came bursting out of the thick steel doors. It loomed toward Graham's table and slammed a bottle of water in front of him before turning around and leaving. Peter smiled awkwardly, "Sorry about that, he's Asmora, one of the automatons that we were given. He runs errands for the staff members when we're in high-alert." Peter paused, "Not that we're in high alert or anything. The power generators short-circuited due to some strange EMP earlier. All the back up systems are running right now."

Peter motioned toward the water, "Please drink up."

The world had changed a lot in the past four years. He looked out the windows into the hangar. A lot. He wondered when he could go home... it's been way too long since he'd seen Rachel. She'd have grown up by now... When did he leave home? How long ago was it? Peter furrowed his brow and hunched over on the table, placing his hands on his cheeks. His memories from before joining the Dawn. They seemed... so distant. As if they were physically far away. "What in the world..." he muttered under his breath.

"Oh, my apologies once again. You're with a friend, are you not? Shall I .. leave you two be?"

"No, no." Peter waved at Nadalia to sit down, "Please, take a seat and join our conversation." Peter turned back to Graham and tried to shake the feeling of unease from his shoulders. "I should probably go over where and when we are, shouldn't I?" He forced a laugh, "It's the year 2013, and you're in the Rocky Mountains Rage in Colorado. Where exactly, I'm not sure. But it's the United States of America. I don't know if that helps, but that's what I can give you right now. If you would like, I could see if Intelligence could scrounge up some maps and records for you to read in your down time."

[[Secondary Scenario]]


Maiden's Wish
side story

"Never ask for anything, but desire everything."

Vihaan ran his fingers through his black hair and grinned. "Good," Vihaan spun around and put a finger on David's chest, "for there are some things that I need from you Mr. David." The jewelry on his uniform jingled as he moved. His gemstones seemed to catch the light from the forge and glow a soft pink. "You are in quite a privileged position to be on the Rising Dawn." Vihaan fished around in his robe and pulled out a USB stick.

The forge seemed to quiet, the air cool, and the dust stopped drifting. The world around them seemed to be locked in time. Vihaan handed the USB to David, "In your ship, there is an old walled-off section of the vessel. It'll be hard to get to, you'll have to go into uncharted areas, but within the old cabin, there's a weapon's lab that's locked away and sealed. Plug this into any computer there and wait for the program to finish. Once it's done running, get it back to me."

The world around them burst back into life. "There's some important data we need before our project can move forward. I'll tell you now in good faith. We're looking for information on forcing exotic matter to stabilize in our world, and the Rising Dawn, with how many extra-dimensional travelers it's collected, it the prime subject for our analysis."

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Rising Dawn: Cloudtop Citadel
King Leoric | Nadalia | Joshua Graham | Peter Moore

Leoric caused more then a few heads to turn among the staff of the Citadel.
Sure, their job description practically involved "Being willing to deal with weird shit all day" but a walking Skeleton was a new one for the bucket list.
"...Strange...where are all the men?...Are they out on deployment?..." He asked out loud, soon staring at the staff almost as much as they stared at him, making a few of them rather uncomfortable
He was a bit worried he was over-shadowing his friend's return to form, least until they both ran into Peter and a strange man in bandages.
"...2013?....It's really that far into the future?....Hm." Leoric mused, recalling the year in his home realm to be somewhere under 1300 (then again, his perception of time as always a bit off-kilter since he "Died")
"Well, I thank you for your offer but I'd rather stand. I am King Leoric, former monarch of Khanduras, current monarch of the Rising Dawn. And my comrade the Iron Queen Nadalia whom you already know. I wish to speak to the commander of this keep, I have several questions relating to the security of our borders I wish to ask him." The Skeleton king then remarked, clearly unaware of how many female members of the armed services were on site.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel

Cloudtop Citadel: David West, Vihaan, Janet

"...Really? You want me to put out on the first date? We didn't even have dinner..." David asked in a annoyed but clearly sarcastic tone.
Classic spy move: Befriend someone and get them to do your bidding, something he knew something about even before he began dating a super Ninja-Spy bombshell.
His gaze turned to the USB he was holding, it seemed normal enough but if Die Hard 4.0 taught him anything (outside of the fact that John McClane doesn't get paid enough), it was that computers were crazy in the right hands.
"...Alright, I'll ask our support AIs about it. They'll want to scan this before they put it on our network. Last think I need in my life is Katya wondering why the internet isn't working, you get me?" The sniper remarked before putting both his USB and Mr. Boozy 2.0 into his jacket.
"Though that does beg the question, if it's just data you are after, why not ask them instead? They'd know more about our systems then I would, I just shoot people for a living. Oh, and unrelated but damn son, your pick-up game needs some work. I mean, the sweet suit is a plus but it only gets you so far..." He then asked in a mocking tone, hoping to incite a bit of laughter from present company.

[[Secondary Scenario]]


Maiden's Wish
side story

"Never ask for anything, but desire everything."

The boy admiral took several steps back and spun around, his cloak fluttered in the breeze he made and shed the ash and grime that had stained it. His footfalls sounded like chiming chords, the soft bend of the cloth of his boots kicked up a circular winds that wrapped around him, blowing embers high into the rafters above them. The ringing of the forge echoed loudly and clearly. Vihaan Valduur cleared his throat and ran his hand across his eyes. The crown around his head burst into golden brilliance and his irises took on the same heavenly light. He grinned, shining as if wearing liquid light.

"It's a good question you've asked," Vihaan said, letting his show settle around him as he approached David. "But it's the wrong question." He put a hand on David's shoulder. "If it was so simple, I would have indeed already asked. The question you must ask is rather, 'what is stopping you from using public data?' and the answer to that is very complicated."

Janet laughed, "And that's there is why the ladies around here are so sweet on the boy. He's got charisma when he wants."

Vihaan gave Janet a grin and a thumbs up before turning back to David and looking him right in the eyes, "Don't panic when I tell you this but, the Rising Dawn has long since been compromised. Your AI, your staff, even some of your heroes, they've all been affected by this phenomena we're trying to prove exists."

No matter how dense David was, he felt the sincerity in Vihaan's voice. It wasn't his magic, nor was it his speech. Rather it was something that appealed to his instincts. His gentle smile, his trusting eyes, even the sound that his jewelry made as he moved. It was calming and relaxing.

"The data that we need to mine from the weapon's lab is so rare and so sensitive that should anyone other than yourself know about it's existence, the waveform we need to observe could become overwritten," Vihaan straightened David's shoulders, "You are special, normal beyond measure. Despite being on the Rising Dawn, you are a native to this world, born and raised a human. You haven't felt... off, tormented by the unnatural times passing through this world. You are dumb, dense, and painfully mundane. You are the only person that can do this." The admiral smiled, "I know you can do this for us, my trust rides with you, David West, and so do the hopes and desires of everyone in this base."

---

"Yooohooo, King Leoric!" Hanna called out from her perch in the hole in the Canteen roof. She grinned and pointed at herself. She was twenty-something, blue-eyed, blonde-hair tied into a ponytail that still fit snug into the belt-loops in the back of her pants. Beautiful, but fit with strong arms and hands familiar to metalcraft.

She jumped and landed next to the Skeleton King. She put a hand on his forearm and ran a finger between the clean dry bone. Hanna whistled, "So that's what it feels like. I've always wondered what you felt like."

Peter seemed rather distraught at her sudden appearance. "Is that what they call a uniform around here?" he said, rolling his eyes.

Hanna pulled on the knot keeping her shirt from snagging on her work belt, "What, you wanna see more, skyboy?"

"I want to see less," Peter snarked. He shook his head and turned to look out the windows of the Canteen.

Hanna leaned back and cracked her back with a good stretch. "Whatever the case, if ya want to be seeing Colonel Isami, I can lead you to 'er. Played Diablo all the time when I was a kid, it'd be an honor to escort the real deal around for a little bit today."

AA Verse | Cloudtop Citadel | The Rising Dawn | Canteen
King Leoric | Nadalia | Joshua Graham | Peter Moore

Again, Graham barely even heard the private's words as the "shadow" came and deposited his drink on the counter. A lot of questions were running through his head right now. There was no way this was the Capital Wasteland. He had been across most of it and there had never been anything like this. In fact he doubted he was even on the same world. The technology, the people, the greenery, even the cleanliness of it screamed of a new world. He was confused but almost pleasantly so. He just needed to collect himself for a minutes and...

And it looked like the private was having problems of his own. There was an odd silence coming from the man but before Graham could so much as utter a word they were met with another person. She was clean like all the inhabitants here but there was something else. A certain warmth that covered something else, a certain cold dark, it was incredibly strange. That didn't even touch on her mannerisms. Her articulation was strange to say the least but he didn't particularly mind that.

This feeling was put off for now as he realized that she was rather nervous. He got that from time to time whether it was his bandages or his infamy. His posture relaxed as the private replied for him. His calm demeanor came back as he processed new information until he saw a walking talking skeleton. This time his mind didn't really say anything as he simply stared at the thing. He had seen many skeletons in the Wasteland but none of them ever walked or TALKED. He was then informed it was the year 2013. That was why everything was so green. This is what it was like before the bombs. In all actuality Graham had never studied when exactly the bombs had dropped but from what he had heard it was around this time. A new worry began to set in his stomach as he thought about what this place could become.

He needed to protect this place, this world, from ever becoming like his own. Whether this was a new world or just the past he didn't know or care, he just knew he had to protect it. A calm determination washed over him as he finally caught up to speed on what the private had said. It was a few moments before he replied, "Maps, records, history books, anything you can find would be invaluable to me." He appreciated the private taking the time to introduce him to the Rising Dawn.

Finally he turned his attention to the woman, Nadalia, if he remembered right. He had been quite rude to her up to now. He decided to correct that as he replied, "excuse me, I was elsewhere when you began talking. I've had a lot to take in these past few... Hours." He was unsure how much time had passed since he had been on the ship. At least an hour he supposed. "My name is Joshua Graham, it's a pleasure to meet you. If you would be so kind, please join our conversation. It has been enlightening so far."

He spared a glance towards the blonde woman that was addressing the private but ignored her as she was more interested in the skeleton.

Diablo1099:
He helped out a bit

bluerocker:
And she helped out even more!

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Rising Dawn: Cloudtop Citadel

Cloudtop Citadel: Hanger: Rugal, Hillary, Ton Ton, Cadolbolg, Teri, Garm

To Rugal's relief, Hillary would set him down gently shortly after he replied to her celebration of her new look. Although Hillary didn't skip, hop or bound for joy, she definitely continued her frolic in her glistening euphoria. Put simply, imagine if a woman got the perfect dress, how they would react to wearing such a lovely garment. Turning and posing to see every curve and look they can? Now make that same dress a gift, even better right? All in all, Hillary was having a very good day now, so much so she didn't notice Teri and Garm approaching.

"Ah, there you are. Hillary, this is my daughter and the Rising Dawn's chief field medic Teri Gravel, along with her compaction Garm. Come, we were just about to ask the commander of this base if we can help this one get home. She suddenly ended up here recently and I'd like to get her back to-...to her-..." Rugal introduced the woman and her companion, Hillary's eyes were finally peeled away from herself and spot the very large doggy. "Oh! Hello there!" Hillary waved over to the two approaching. "It's very nice to meet you-you..." Hillary started her introduction when a thought dawned on her, making her pause for a moment.

"...Teri, dear, has something happened to you? Your Aura it feels-...different..." Rugal remarked.

Teri tilted her head in confusion, (a motion mirrored by her canine companion, to Rugal's amusement) before making a little "Hmnn...". Her brows furrowed in thought as she answered back, "You know, it's funny - I don't really 'feel' that different; a little lighter I guess? I remember the last thing I did, after some busy work in the Med Bay was that I went to my room and meditated for a little bit. I've been so busy after the whole incident with the Prison, I hadn't really given any alone time to Big G and..."

She stopped there, trailing off before perking again; a lightbulb practically appearing above her head as she answered, "That's it! I hadn't spent any time really talking to the man upstairs, so that must have changed something!"

Garm nodded after his charges conclusion, adding in, "That would make sense. We fought a lot in that prison, so we've both gotten stronger, no doubt. From what I've seen, you've been doing a lot better since we've gotten back, a change I approve of."

Following this, the rather large wolf sniffed at the air near Hillary, his ears perked inquisitively as he examined the strange new being, "A new member, huh? The Rising Dawn pack grows every day it seems..."

By this point, Hillary had slowly turned her head over to Rugal, this look of deep guilt across her face. With her finally distracted from her own looks, she finally remembered that being metal meant she'd just become far stronger than she normally would. Now in all fairness, she didn't feel any stronger, but this was one of those things she'd worked on to remember while on the Laplace. She didn't know why Rugal hadn't said anything to her, but with that look from her, Rugal understood without saying a word. "Please, I used to headline the King of Fighters. And they have actually allowed people to bring guns into the fights." He boasted, his words putting Hillary at ease once again. "You must be very strong then indeed. But Hillary will be much more careful to not do that again!" Hillary answered back with gumption.

Teri, on the other hand, had finally broken out of her little reverie and made note of the metallic space alien. Gasping loudly, she exclaimed, "Oh, Where are my manners?! As Dad said, my name's Teri, it's nice to meet you, Hillary! "I can't say I know terribly much about alien anatomy; but I'll do the best I can if you find yourself in a pinch." She extended her right hand for a handshake, the sleeve of her robe falling back to reveal an interesting assortment of equipment underneath. What started with a gloved hand, which bared a silver chain with a cross dangling from the wrist. This continued with a hardy looking bracer covering her forearm, up until the darkness under the rest of the sleeve. It was a sharp contrast to the young woman's clothing, which looked more akin to a priest's vestments; colored sky blue and white. However, despite this contrast, her expression was friendly; a sentiment shared somewhat by the canine she sat atop of; who was making himself busy sniffing Hillary for anything unusual.

Hillary would reflect Teri's cheerful expression both literally and figuratively. Be in lack of knowledge of wolves or simply being overly friendly, Hillary didn't seem to be worried about Garm, letting out a giggle as he continued sniffing at her. "Hehe, okay doggy it's nice to meet you too~ Your name's Garm right? Now how did Timea say... Oh!" Hillary made a fist and slowly moved it towards Garm's nose for him to sniff at like dogs normally like. "Now for Teri's turn." She reached an arm up to shake Teri's, Hillary's hand having zero give making it feel like Teri was doing shaking a statue. Her grip was also quite loose. "That's not too much right?"

In the meantime, Ton Ton and Cadolbolg watched this scene unfold quietly, before Ton Ton asked the question that was on their mind, "Pardon me for asking, but how exactly did you do that? That...Skin shifting thing? It's very unusual; even for a place like this one..."

Finishing the hand shaking for now, Hillary looked back to the two little ones. "Skin shifting thing?" She asked, head tilting before her eyes widened and she looked back down at herself. "OH! You mean this? This is just something Hillary does when she's not in Garton... That's the town Hillary grew up in, slime all over the place. Hillary got told on the Laplace it might be how she eats, but she doesn't think that's right. Hillary doesn't eat lots of things she changes into after all. What's important is whenever Hillary touches a lot of something, she'll change into that something, so because of Rugal's metal apple I look like this now~" Which despite wanting to keep her focus on her hosts, her attention was absorbed back into her lustrous body, coos and giggles included.

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Rising Dawn: Cloudtop Citadel
King Leoric | Nadalia | Joshua Graham | Peter Moore

"...Clearly, the years have eroded things like manners..." Leoric muttered in a displeased tone as Hanna apparently seemed to "Come onto him".
There were so many things wrong with that, even before you get to the part where he was entirely bone and demonic magic.
Luckily(?) for her, She then made a far more grave error: Speaking of the Lord of Terror himself.
"Played Diablo all the time when I-"
Before she could finish, Leoric swung his mace upward right though the table, upending it and knocking poor Hanna to the ground.
"WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?! WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?!"[1] He shouted as he towered over the Private, holding his mace right before the woman's throat like a sword.
"Ohhhh, I understand now. You are just like Lazarus. Come here so I may bring your head to your dark master MYSELF!" He then roared before nearly crushing Hanna under his mace as she rolled to safety.
What then prompted was a rather strange scene as he chased her around the canteen, upending tables in what was once a threatening manner but in reality, the only thing that was missing was Benny Hill music.
"Stop running! You're only making it worse for yourself! Ha-...Get back here! Stop you Wretch!" He panted as he chased after her around tables and people getting food, unaware of how silly it looked.

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Cloudtop Citadel

Cloudtop Citadel: David West, Vihaan, Janet

"...Okay, was the part about me being dumb, dense, and painfully mundane really that important for the sake of your speech?...I mean, you've sold me but really?...That last one is bullshit. I date a ninja for crying out loud..." David muttered in a dumb, dense and painfully mundane way as his tiny ego was bruised by Vihaan's cruel words.
Still, David was starting to come over to the admiral's words and he had a point: What if there was something up with the ship and it's crew.
"...Alright, sir. I'll accept this mission, just so long as you agree to my terms. You might not know them too well, but those guys are my family at this point. I'll get your data but if any of your "Research" so much as scratches one of them, you'll find out just how "Painfully Mundane" bullets being inserted into your body really are..."
And with that, David spat into his hand before offering it for Vihaan to shake, an old Irish custom for deal making said to symbolize having "Clean hands" in relation to the agreement.
"...you don't have to spit as well if you don't want to, I know people find it weird and gross, but such is the way of old customs." The sniper then remarked as he fiddled with the USB with his "Dry" hand.

[1] Warning: Extremely Cringey waste of millions of dollars

BlackHarte:
This gal helped out a whole bunch!

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Rising Dawn: Library
Nina Zaczoltski | Phillip | Molli and John | Naamah

It wouldn't take long for them to drift down to the flying Dawn, Phillip using his tentacles to reach outwards to the hole and worked to pull the two in with him. "Oh hey! We made it!" Nina exclaimed excitedly from the ceiling as she noticed they appeared to be in the library they were looking for! "Slow and steady, but we got there in the end! Isn't that right?" Nina laughed, pretty chipper for almost falling to her death.

Grabbing the library shelves like a ladder, Phillip would pull the two down to the ground, allowing enough distance to stop them from simply being pulled out of the hole in the ship again. Once her feet were firmly on the ground, Nina blew a sigh of relief and stretched her arms out before giving her hair the once over and adjusting some clothing, free fall does a great job of ruffling clothing. "Well we're finally here! Now time to find my hat!" she proclaimed as Ruby guided her to the lost and found, where low and behold the treasure they'd long searched for was found!

The hat[1] in question was visibly old and well used, but still in good condition regardless. The way Nina picked it up off the pile and dusted it off, it was clear even with Nina's questionable mental state, she cared about this article of clothing quite a bit. A scutinous eye would spot something stitched into the inside portion, the flap in the inlay covering what it might be.

A voice cut through the howling winds that invaded the library, "ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE THIS IS!" The bookshelves rustled as a storm of a little girl came barreling into view. Her loose gold jeweler rattled together as she ran, the sheer cloth veil she wore over a head of long dark brown hair whipped in the wind as her black scarf and wooden staff followed haphazardly in her footsteps. Whoever this scantily clad girl was, she was awfully upset. 'What even is that sound..? Did, did someone leave a window open in here?! We're on an airship! Why would you have windows?!' Sticking a finger in her ear.

She ran up to Nina and clutching her head screamed at the young woman, "You no respect for the sanctity of this place have? You just come crashing down through someone's head at will? Half a mind to jail you Naamah has!" Her black scarf raised it head and glared at Nina with a singular green eye. Phillip who was sitting on Nina's shoulder's would mirror the scarf's glare with his own, eyes not included. Nina didn't immediately turn to face the irate woman however, only once Ruby tugged on Nina's sleeve did she turn around to notice Naamah, clearly confused why this woman was yelling at her.

"Colonel, colonel, please calm down!" Molli said in between breaths after she finally caught up to the pint-sized colonel. Molli gasped for breath and stood up, curly red hair falling over her face. A man entered the library not long after, well dressed and well groomed. "Ah... christ..."

"The Colonel is quite fast despite her small size," John said casually, "let me pull up a seat for you Molli."

"Thanks John," Molli answered before she collapsed onto her knees.

"What for yourself do you say!?" Naamah pouted at Nina.

"I'm sorry for her rudeness, John said as he helped Molli into a chair, "the Colonel is quite on edge ever since she got back from Denver. There was a lot of damage done to both the ship and the crew, and it weighs heavily on her mind."

"Definitely," Molli added, "we both nearly lost something very dear to us. We," she motioned to herself and John, "and her." she motioned toward Naamah.

"Naamah an explanation, an apology, and compensation demands!"

"Lord have mercy..." Nina groaned, using one hand to rug her temples. Nina held up a finger to Naamah as a 'Just a moment' before turning to Ruby "Honestly, I was hoping to take you back to your fam jam, but... Well I'm getting the feeling this'll take a bit longer to get worked out. So to save you a long winded, but... constructive discussion, you wanna just head out and we can meet up later for some magic lessons or something?" Nina asked Ruby, which after a bit of consideration, she conceeded she didn't want to have to deal with Naamah. She looked pretty upset after all, so with Ruby heading back to her room Nina turned to Naamah.

"So she's a colonel?" She addressed Molli, disbelief practically dripping from her voice as she pointed down at Naamah. 'Trying to be swindled by a Gypsy posing as a Colonel... What a day.' "Alright look, I don't see what right you have to shout at me like that, but from the place I'm standing, I'd imagine you're the one in need of some apologizing. I find libraries quite pleasant, even helped with Ruby's mistrust of libraries only an hour ago. And I have not crashed through anyone's head, far from it. The only thing I've crashed through recently was my home, and that was only because Eddie the Sped felt it in his best interest to smash through my house!" Nina crossed her arms.

"But hey, you two are right, everyone's probably a bit on edge. I for one was feeling rather flabbergasted I managed to misplace this." Tipping her hat as she placed it on her head. "So, how about we all just take a deep breath, and maybe Molli or... Joe was it? Or John, sorry!" Nina corrected herself as she looked to Phillip a moment. "Right so John, could explain things a bit more calmly?" Nina requested, trying to set an example for Phillip on how arguments should be handled.

John leaned back onto a table and nodded, his soft brown curls bobbed lightly in the breeze coursing through the library, "It is so," he said, "it would please me to introduce Colonel Naamah Blackheart from Rising Dawn High Command. She's not in any direct command of a division like other officers of her rank, instead she's one of the chief officers in the Intelligence department."

"And how you the hole above us explain?" Naamah cried as she pointed at the jagged opening leading to the outside. Several black sinews were trying to reach each other from each edge, hoping to close the breach in some capacity. 'So that's where the window is! Weird place for a skylight?'

"The little Colonel is also a technopath of some sort. None of use are too sure on the details, but she has some sort of connection with the ship superstructure itself," Molli added. She pointed at the black sinews between the hull's superstructure, "Those things are like a living creature and they help make impromptu repairs when the ship is damaged. It's not unlikely that Colonel Blackheart sees the organism as another 'person.' With all of the heroes coming through hull breaches, it's also likely that's what Colonel Blackheart sees as 'breaking through someone's head.'"

Naamah continued to move about angrily, waving her arms and running around in a small circle.

"She is also the Chief Librarian for the Rising Dawn. Not just this ship, but the organization as a whole. This place however," John motioned toward the Library as a whole, "is where she spends most of her free time."

"Nonetheless, since you are a civilian, if you would come with us we can arrange for you to be taken home, and if necessary we will provide you with a check for the damages done to your place of residence." Molli offered.

Naamah stopped ranting and glared at Molli, "Are you truly so ignorant? She not a civilian is. She a hero is!" Naamah pointed at Nina, "It fate herself that was that on this ship her put. Just at her look!"

This last comment from Naamah caught Nina off guard. A hero, really? Nina gave the pint sized colonel a dubious look. "Thanks for the compliment, I guess?" Clearly not following Naamah's train of thought. Heroes after all had super powers, fancy costumes, gadgets and gizmos, flashy cars and a meriad of adoring fans. Even with her being accepted to live here on the Dawn by Ryan, and his warning about not going out on a mission; she hadn't really thought in earnest about being a hero. Thinking back with saving the crowd of brainwashed fellows, dealing with the missile, attempting to help Nadalia, that whole run from the bugs; she'd thought of it as just being helpful, but it did have a bit of a heroic flair to it. Regardless with the information dump out of the way, Nina did have a plan forming in her noggin, one that had a smile curl across her face.

"But you did give me an idea. So! Those black things don't hurt right, if Phillip helps to connect them, he'd be alright, right? Phillip's been wanting to get back home to check if we can get any of our stuff back from home. Ryan already gave us the go ahead to live up here already, but had to take care of some other things on his own." Nina stated, following with a clap, Phillip moving up a bit more to perch on Nina's shoulder proper clearly interested. "So how about this? We help get that window or whatever closed, we came through a portal Ruby made, so that's clearly the work of someone else's, and then we take a trip down to Denver to my place, gather our swag, and see how it goes after that? Not sure how much of it'd be left, but I can't sit back and let it all go to the dump, least of all the unmentionables... So what do you say, we got a deal?" She asked, presenting a hand to shake, shifting it from Molli to Naamah unsure who'd really be the deal maker here.

[1] It'd look fairly close to this, probably with a bit more cloth than leather.

Rising Dawn: Canteen ------------------------------------------------------------------ 02:15 AM


Lt. Dolores Selmy

We settled into a state of uncomfortable silence. The red light cast by the low-power light above drew awful shadows across all of our faces. I moved uncomfortably in my chair. "I... I'm sorry for bringing any of this up. Let's leave it alone. There's a time to cross this river, but it shouldn't be today." I looked at Katya, and her expression seemed kind of far away, hard to place, lost.

Laeta walked over and leaned against my chair, "Awful night it's been hasn't it?"

Saren gurgled a half-response from her face-down seat at the table.

"You can say that again, you drunkard piece of trash," Laeta chuckled. She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around me again. It was comforting to feel her familiar soft warmth. It was clear that out of all of us, Laeta was the most like mother. Strong beyond human belief, yet still warm and caring. Not to mention that out of all of us she looked the most like mother.

PFC Hanna Coors landed on our table. Our eyes met. She smirked and jumped off, long strands of her golden hair fluttered behind in her wake. Laeta pulled me backwards so fast that I almost fell out of my chair.

And then everything was flying through the air. Bottles and drinks landed on the floor in a spectacular shatter of broken glass. Katya dodged backwards, angry if not shocked. Saren slumped onto the floor unable to move, covered in shards of broken glass. "Stop you wretch!" bellowed Leoric, the Skeleton King. His mace broke tables and chairs as he dragged it along behind him. His heavy footfalls shook the ground as he followed Hanna as she weaved over tables and chairs in a display of acrobatics unique to the 121st engineering division.

I felt Laeta pull away. She was next to Saren, lifting her up and dusting the shards of glass from her body.She tore open her jacket and ripped open the fishnet shirt underneath. Saren's naked skin was bathed in red light, but the darkness that ran down from her collar bone was unmistakable. Laeta bent down and wrapped her lips around the wound, sucked and spat a mouthful of fresh blood onto the ground besides her. Then she pulled Saren off the ground and dusted off as much ground glass as she could manage in the darkness before setting Saren in my lap.

I held onto her lightly, the skin on her chest was an angry red, stained slightly by the still flowing wound underneath her collarbone. "Saren..." I held her face with my hand gently, "how badly does it hurt?"

Saren stirred, the alcohol was dulling her pain, but without her keen senses it would be impossible to assess the damage to her frail and sensitive body.

"I'll be right back," Laeta said. Her voice was dripping with venom of the same type I often saw in father's words. She walked forward two steps and then vanished.

"Leoric!" she bellowed, appearing before the Skeleton King. She kicked a foot outward and caught the gap between Leoric's plackart[1] and his fauld[2], Laeta twisted her body and grabbed Hanna by her belt and pulled hard. "Hanna Coors!" She threw both of them down on the floor with a horizontal spin. When she landed Laeta popped her arm back into its socket and twisted her knee and hip back into place.

Hanna stared at Laeta, shocked by her sudden loss of momentum. Leoric likewise sat on the floor with his great mace settling some feet away from him.

"Honestly," Laeta growled. Her eyes gleamed violet in the red light, "both of you should know much, much better than to be doing these sort of theatrics in an area with glass and weapons."

"Could'a given me whiplash right there," Hanna said as she recovered from her hard landing.

"You're an adult, you need to behave like one," Laeta chided. Then she turned to Leoric and put a foot on his chest and leaned forward, "and you are a king. Act like one." Laeta walked back toward Saren and me and picked up Saren.

"I'm going to take her to the infirmary to get this wound properly cleaned. God knows what'll happen if her ampules become infected." Laeta turned to leave, Saren unconscious in her arms. As Laeta left, her silhouette against the light coming in from the door reminded me of someone else. Long brown hair flowing behind her, the subtle bob of her hips, and confident clack of her heels. I had taken my eyes off of my sister for a mere four years and in that time she had grown into an entirely different league of human than I was. Despite everything, I was jealous of her. Of all three of us, she was Mustafia's true daughter.

Pvt. Peter Moore

Peter was more than just flabbergasted at what happened. He stood up from his chair and brought their table back to proper place before sitting back down. He knew Hanna well from his time in Cloudtop Citadel, and he knew her playful and irresponsible nature, but such reckless and dangerous behavior was beyond even his anticipation. He could do nothing but watch as the two cat-and-mouse players got manhandled by a young woman.

He turned toward Graham and cleared his throat, "Yeah, I," he paused and cleared his throat again, "I'll get some maps and records to you as soon as I can."

[1] top half of the breastplate
[2] the thing around the waist directly below the breastplate

Rising Dawn: Library ------------------------------------------------------------------ 06:42 PM


Lt. Molli Faust

John, the sweetheart, smiled and took Nina's hand. "Given Colonel Blackheart's petty anger towards you, I'll oversee all of the activities you will be participating in today." John swiped his bangs to the side to reveal his glimmering blue eyes. He let got of Nina's hand and put his hands on my shoulder. I smiled. My heart had calmed down now from the dead sprint that Colonel Blackheart had lead me across the Rising Dawn the moment that the breach occurred. It would not be a surprise if the Colonel decided during repairs to strip off the entire ceiling of the vessel.

"If you follow me, Ms. Nina, I'll lead you to the hanger where we'll send you down to Denver." John smiled kindly.

Airman Cecil Olpich

Cecil ran his hands over all of the switches in his new VTOL, 311-C to make sure everything was set for take off. He was transporting another young, blonde, woman. He coughed uncomfortably. His age was slowly catching up to him. Too many smokes, too much meat. He could feel the tightening in his chest as he pulled the lever back to start the VTOL's engines. The last time he had anxiety this bad was back in the Arab Spring conflicts. He remembered the young woman he let off in Denver the first time, the Lieutenant. He had heard she did not return well, and that made him sick to his stomach.

311-C pulled out of the hanger as Lieutenant Langley stood waving on the observation platform. They took to the air and spun away from the Rising Dawn back toward the smoking ruins of Denver. The ship they left looked awful, thick black burn marks ran the course along her armor belt. The three turrets along her broadside were still smoking from the prolonged barrages. The rest of the ship was marred with small puncture wounds left by enemy flak and kinetic weapons. The rear thrusters glowed weakly as it forced the ship along toward the mountain range in the distance.

The journey took thirty minutes at cruising altitude before they started to make their descent into the ruined city of Denver. As they broke the cloud cover, another airship was lingering over the city. It was huge, dwarfing even the Rising Dawn in scale. Long, flat, and fit to the brim with auxiliary docking arrays, the Stormglaive was drifting above the city in standby as hundreds of specialized VTOLs, some piloted, some drones, descended into the city to initiate repairs.

The Stormglaive buzzed into his communications systems. "311-C, this the Stormglaive admiralty. Please indicate yor pilot number and your purpose in this airspace."

Cecil flipped the switch on his headset and set the engines to a gentler output, "T0104, requesting landing permissions in Denver. I'm delivering a hero to her previous place of residence." There was a pause as two drones arrived in parallel to his VTOl craft. They ran the length of the vessel before breaking formation and returning to the city below.

"This is Stormglaive admiralty. You have been registered under Stormglaive data registries. You are free to land now. Stormglaive admiralty out." The voice clicked off of the communication channel. Cecil let out a sigh and took the VTOL down toward the coordinates on his GPS.

He turned around and looked at the young woman, Nina. There was something off about her, something unsettling. The entire flight that feeling of anxiety never left. He really needed a smoke after this mission was over. He flipped several switched and set down the VTOL on top of the roof of the scarred apartment building that was specified.

"Alright, we're here. Watch your step on the way out, and I'll be leaving in an hour, so be back here before that."

[[Secondary Scenario]]


Maiden's Wish
side story

"Never ask for anything, but desire everything."

Vihaan spat in hit hand and grasped David's hand firmly, "I'm glad that you've come to the right conclusion." The winds around Vihaan began to die down and the stifling heat of the forge began to bear down on David once again. Vihaan put his other hand over David's mimicking the motions that Dolores had done earlier in the night, "And I hope with all my heart that by the time this is over, no damage has been done to anyone," he paused. "Bar one." He let go of David's hand and took several steps back.

"Come, I will lead you back to your ship. You have only twelve-some hours before everything goes to hell in a handbasket once again," Vihaan started to walk into the main machine shop of the forge, beckoning David to follow, "and it would be quite unfortunate for us, but for me in particular, if our ace-in-the-hole wasn't quite ready for her maiden voyage."

The Rising Dawn Adventures

The Escapist Avatar Adventures | Denver Ruins
Nina Zaczoltski | Phillip | Cecil

It hadn't been overly long since she first arrived here, and HO-BOY did it look totally like a dump now. Thankfully the explosion that'd rocked the final battle for Denver was largely perpendicular to Nina's housing complex so the block's buildings had helped to buffer the full brunt of the blast wave. This still didn't stop practically everywhere else to be covered in a large wave of debree. At least they were able to land on the roof. "Hey thanks for the lift! One hour right? Sure thing!" Nina confirmed she'd heard Cecil right over the engines, offering him a fist bump and updating her phone before hopping off the VTOL. Phillip had been in Nina's duffle bag for the trip, having seen the pilot prior something told her he might have taken issue with the noodle monster. Once she got inside the stairwell however, she didn't wait to let him out, Phillip practically bursting from the bag on his own.

Nina reflexively snatched an escaping tentacle in turn as Phillip dangled in place. "Woah woah woah! I know you want to get to that food as fast as your little legs can go, but there's probably glass and broken everything everywhere. You don't have your tetanus shot yet, and I-" Nina stopped as Phillip tried pushing at Nina, swivelling as best he could to try and break free from his dangling hold. "Hey! I'm serious here! Tetanus isn't something you can scoff at mister. You get that and buh bye any chance of every cooking alongside Gordon Ramsay!" And just like that Phillip stopped his thrashing, just hanging there for the moment, pointing a distinct tentacle up to Nina's face. "Oh ho ho, just try me! You'll be the best cook when you are stuck like this." Phillip immediately pulled himself up to Nina's arm, and quickly pulled himself over to her shoulders and made himself fairly small to boot.

Eventually getting the door open to her apartment, the place was totalled like really really totalled! All the windows were shattered, multiple pieces of furniture across the floor, and speaking of, the floor by the window in the kitchen was completely obliterated thanks to Eddie. Not to say that it'd looked much better prior, as if anyone had followed along with Nina they'd have seen the place had looked pretty ghastly from the start. The fridge thankfully was far enough into the building to have avoided direct contact, but the floor clearly was barely supporting its weight. Not that Phillip cared as he hopped off Nina by the doorway and started to swell up to his full size. He then plucked the fridge up in its entirety, lifted it up over himself and allowed it to sink into him. Despite the size difference, the fridge appeared to have fully disappeared within him, even when he shrunk back down.

Nina grabbed a broom from her storage closet to at least give Phillip a path into the apartment so that he could stand there worry free. His tendrils able to reach the vast majority of the apartment if he extended them far enough. Once Phillip had better access to the rest of their home, Nina set to work collecting what she could salvage from her wrecked house. Grabbing some cardboard boxes she'd meant to throw out ages ago, she set to work packing as much as she could manage while Phillip grabbed some of his spice racks. Pictures of family and friends, a nice assortment of clothing, her hat collection, a half can of febreeze she'd wished she'd had earlier, a can of Raid! which she's also wished she'd had earlier, her money stash, that nice coconut shampoo conditioner she'd managed to get in bulk, and the unmentionable that were mentioned quite a bit it seems were all packed up as she set them down for Phillip to swallow up. Once she'd finally satisfied her need to protect their things from the unnamed looters that be, she went back to the doorway for one last look. "You know... this is where we first met? I walked in, found you watching Food Network on the old television I'd forgot to turn off. Hehe, ya it was rude of me to throw that colander over you... It's sad to leave this place, don't you think..?" She spoke, wiping a couple tears from her eyes as they came before looking down to Phillip and smiling. "Heh, ya you're right. The kitchen is a total mess, you wouldn't be able to make anything with it in this state. Come on, I'm alright! Let's get back to Cecil, can't keep the poor shmuck waiting up there." She ordered, taking in a deep breath through her nose. She picked up the one box Phillip had refused to intake, and started making her way back up to the roof.

Now Cecil in that hour wait had had a well deserved pause from the anxiety he'd experienced, but as the hour grew to a close it quickly returned. This time however, he knew where it came from as Nina threw open the door to the stairwell. Huffing and puffing, she'd carried the heavy box, her duffle bag and Phillip up the long flight of stairs, the elevator having long lost power in the battle. Phillip being fully visible this time around, Cecil wouldn't have to wonder what was causing this pit in his chest as he knew that THING! was the cause all along! "Ugh, S-sorry I'm late! *Wheeze* Phillip.... tetanus... heavy-porn... Gimme a sec!" Nina called out to the man as she sat herself down on the cardboard box and wiped her brow of sweat. "Oh fuck me..!" She facepalmed as she realized Phillip was out in plain view. "Don't use that word by the way, it's a no no..." She then pointed at Phillip. "He's cool, he's with me!" She called out to Cecil again.

Rising Dawn: Canteen ------------------------------------------------------------------ 02:20 AM


Pvt. Peter Moore

I remember Hanna well from my childhood. Our homes were right next to each other and our rooms faced each other. She used to come over all the time just to tease me, all the time too. Whether it was after school or during summer break, whenever I came home she'd be waiting for me on the stone wall the divided our properties. She was always wearing the same blue overalls with her long hair tied neatly at the belt loop. It was simple back then, the summers were hot and the winters were mild. She was always there.

By the time we were in middle school she had started hanging around inside my house too. She's always be lounging around my room as I worked reading. She liked science-fiction mostly, always talking about how one day we'd live among the stars. I had to laugh. Head in the clouds, that Hanna.

I paused. Looking at her now, she wasn't all that different. She still wore a joke of a shirt with denim overalls - albeit she looked much better in them than she did back then. For a girl, she was really different from Rachel. The had dispositions that clashed often. Where Hanna was tomboyish and athletic, Rachel was soft spoken and deliberate. Though, looking back at it now those two fought so much that they could have been sisters.

The summer right before we left for college, I remember now, quite clearly. She was sitting on the wall between our houses, long blonde hair tied at her waist in the loops of her belt. Denim overalls hanging loosely at her hips and wearing a white shirt that was just transparent in the summer sunlight.

"Hey Peter," she had said, tilting her head as she finished off a icepop.

I looked up at her and shrugged, "What's up?"

"Do you remember how we met?" she asked as she slid down onto the wet grass. The sprinklers had just finished spraying as the sun hung low on the horizon.

"No, not really," I said, "I just assumed that was always knew each other. Why do you ask?"

"Well shucks, that blows three ways to Tuesday," she put the icepop stick in her mouth and leaned against the wall with her hands resting on the back of her head. "I mean, I was had just gotten to thinking, we'll be breaking paths soon enough right? And we've lived next to each other for so long."

"Where are you going with this?" I asked as I took a seat next to her.

She paused for a while. She took a deep breath. "Well," she started, "I was just got to thinking that..." she turned her head away "I just got to thinking that."

"Yeah?" I craned to look at her face. She kept avoiding making eye contact with me. "You were just thinking what?"

"I was just thinking since that I couldn't remember the time that we met," she spit the stick out onto my lawn, "it'd be a real shame that the last thing I'd remember would be when we had to say goodbye. Y'know, for good."

I laughed, "Yeah, we've been together since forever. I know what you mean. I can't imagine what'll be like being so far away from you. But I'm sure that when you get to Massachusetts you'll make tons of new friends real quick. You're smart and beautiful and friendly as they come."

"That's not what I mean Peter," she said.

I was confused, "Then what do you mean?"

Her lips tasted of raspberries. When she pulled back I could see the tears wet on her cheeks. I felt a blush creep onto my cheeks. "What," I stumbled for words. My heart beat like hell in my chest and my legs felt just a little numb.

"You really know how to keep a girl waitin', y'know?" she smiled sadly, "I can't bear to think that this will be the first time I'll be without you, y'know?" She paused and brought her knees to her chest, "and y'know, I'm not so great with talkin' about things like this, I don't know how to feel y'know? Because, y'know, I'm not like most other girls around here. Always been a bit... off y'know. Been that Coors child and the tomboy y'know. Never been a proper lady. Couldn't ever been. But, I had you goin' for me, y'know? Can't say when I noticed the ache, but I've felt it long enough now." The tears rolled gently down her cheeks as she spoke.

I didn't know what to do. I had never, not that I'd not ever, but I had never really thought about Hanna that way. Yet, I couldn't help but also feel something tugging at my heart. Not quite the same yearning that plagued Hanna, but a guilt or a shame or something of an unfavorable sort. It felt bad. That much I could understand at the time.

"Y'know?" she finished. I had zoned out of the last few minutes of her speech, but now she was looking at me with eyes near to overflowing with her tears. The sun glimmered off of the drops on her cheeks and made her look like she was crying diamonds.

"Well, I uh..." I stammered. I looked for words to express how I felt, but I didn't even know what I felt. It was sudden, odd, strange. I knew deep down that I loved her, but in the same way that I had loved Rachel. Though my mind kept wandering down to the taste of raspberries lingering on my lips.

She looked at me and leaned forward, gently putting pressure on my arm with her body. The way she felt was different than from when we fought or wrestled. There was something tangibly different in her. Her lips were so close to me again. "So y'know, let's not make this a sad memory." She put her head on my shoulder, golden hair smelling a mix of aromatic fruit, oil, and sweat. "My name's Hanna Coors. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"My name is Peter Moore, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"And now that we've met, I can say goodbye, y'know?"

Peter's head hurt like hell. The air around him seemed to fill with a terrible static. By the time he recovered, the pain had subsided into a dull throb at his temples. He stood up and shook his head, "I, uh, I'll go get what records I can from intelligence." As Peter left the Canteen, he passed Hanna as she got up from the floor. She smiled at Peter and turned away. She's different from what I remember, now that I think about it. Her outward personality was spot on, but she missing the subtle refinements of her intimate personality. Maybe it was a front for service, but it seemed altogether wrong to him. Why did he think that he knew her from Cloudtop Citadel?

After Peter managed to scrounge some books on world history from the Library, he noticed a young woman wandering the halls immediately outside of the hanger looking quite dreadful. He stopped by the woman, a lamia by the looks of it. He adjusted the books in his grip and looked over the girl, giant tail notwithstanding, she didn't seem like she belonged in this world. Her skin was too flawless, her eyes were too big, and well... her bust was probably breaking some law of physics.

He tapped her on the tail with his foot, "Um, excuse me ma'am, are you lost or something?"

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